Recently I covered a new protective sleeve for the Atari 2600 line of cartridges. For those that do not know, the Atari 2600 library has never shipped with any kind of protective sleeve (at least none I am aware of). Global Game Gear has created a solution to protect the fantastic artwork that many Atari 2600/7800 games featured along with protecting the sensitive game connectors that are often exposed to the elements. This is an ideal solution for collectors and game stores too (nothing says collectible more than a protective sleeve for the cartridge). Anyhow, I got a chance to talk with Carl Mixon, the man behind Global Game Gear and that interview is available after the jump. Enjoy!
Retro Gaming Magazine) Please introduce yourself
Carl Mixon) My name is Carl Mixon. I’ve been developing products for a few years now. My first foray into developing products was back in 2000. I was one of the guys who started a small PC case mods company called PcMods which made windows and lights for your computer, among other things. Since then I have developed over 250 different products for the retail market, sometimes for myself and sometimes for other groups. As volunteer work, I coach robotics teams for kids aged 12 to 18 in the First Tech Challenge robotics league, which also helps to satiate my creative desires. This is my 5th year as a robotics coach.
RGM) Why protective sleeves for Atari 2600? What was the motivation to make them in the first place?
CM) We’re all into retro games here at Global Game Gear. Between us, we have almost every game console, not including the ultra rare ones of course. Out in the neighborhood a place opened called the “Game Preserve”. It turns out that it was a group of guys who all had small collections of coin op games, and they rented a space and put them all together and made an arcade. We thought this was really forward thinking, the power of the collective and all. We decided that we would put our collections together and then start filling in the gaps, and set up a museum of sorts. We’re really fuzzy on the details of that … but like any dream, its ok for it to be fuzzy around the edges. I brought in a box from my place, which had my old Atari Jr, some old joysticks, and a lot of games. But when they were there on the shelf next to the NES, SNES, N64 and other games, the carts looked really bare. And their labels were in much worse condition than the others (on average). The 3rd party carts had dirty and sometimes damaged PCBs. It just didn’t look good. I went online to buy some covers, but the ones I found were $10 each, which would put my personal collection around $400-$500. I doubt our museum will ever have all 519 games that were ever made, I just don’t know if that’s realistic, but $10 per case would be way out of our budget. So, we decided that we needed some kind of slip sleeves, and moved on from there. Cost to protect an entire collection was definitely a big factor in design.
RGM) In the Kickstarter it is mentioned that there will be protective sleeves for gaming manuals, any more information on that? Game manuals are often overlooked collector’s items.
CM) Yeah, that is a problem because a small slipsleeve, the size of an Atari cartridge, won’t hold a manual. It’s too small. And you don’t really need to reference game manuals on a regular basis. If you have an old favorite, you know how to play it and the manual is more of a “pride of ownership” thing, at least, that’s the case for me. The manual box is for “safe long term storage”. The design we have is for a box that was similar to the Atari 2600 cover that we are kickstarting, except it would have a top and bottom half that would slide together (the top being slightly bigger). And then this would sit off to the side on the shelf. If you have a really large collection, you would have multiple boxes, A-L, M-Z.
RGM) If protective sleeves for the Atari 2600 are successful will we see more for other platforms?
CM) Yes, we have active plans to release more for the same reasons. We have this museum idea which may spin off other ideas.
RGM) Have you approached game developers/publishers for the Atari 2600 about including your protective sleeves in the box? Such as those that populate AtariAge forums.
CM) This is the first time we’ve done something for the Atari, and I wasn’t on their forums personally. I did contact AtariAge privately and made an introduction, but didn’t receive an answer. It’s a tight knit group, and they are doing good things. I think we’ll cross paths eventually, but it’s okay if that’s not “now”. I think developers and publishers will be more interested after its been “released into the wild”, that is, up for retail sale. We’ve run into a fair amount of “wait and see” attitude, which is understandable.
RGM) Anything you would like to say to the readers of Retro Gaming Magazine?
CM) Sure, I’d like to say thanks for supporting our Kickstarter campaign! It means a lot to us, it was our first time trying to do anything like that. What we are doing is such a niche product, compared to a card game or a iPhone gadget, that we really weren’t sure what would happen. So, thanks very much 🙂
Global Game Gear protective cases are currently on Kickstarter so if you want to guarantee your collection is protected, head over there and make the appropriate pledge.